You don’t need a big backyard or even fancy containers to grow some of your own food. Check out how to grow rosemary in a broken coffee mug.
Did your favorite coffee mug get a chip or lose its handle? Don’t toss it in the trash! Julie Finn at our sister site Insteading shows you how to grow rosemary in an old broken coffee mug.
Rosemary is one of the easiest herbs to grow, and you don’t even need to sprout seeds or buy a rosemary plant to grow your own. Not only does the tutorial below show you how to turn an old broken mug into a planter, Julie walks you through how to propagate rosemary. That means you can just use a cutting from a kind friend’s rosemary plant!
Broken Coffee Mug Planter (and How to Propagate Rosemary)
by Julie Finn, Insteading
My kids are HARD on my coffee mugs, y’all!
I don’t know if it’s because I’m a mean mom and make them do the dishes (don’t feel like you have to make your kids do this, too–mine clearly do a terrible job!), or because our kitchen is floored with a stone tile that is literal murder on any dropped glass or ceramic, but twice this week a guilty-looking child has brought me a coffee mug with the handle broken off and the rim chipped.
Fortunately, a broken coffee mug is really just a future planter in the making, ensuring that I never have to use a store-bought plant pot. Here’s a quick and easy way to repurpose a broken coffee mug into a planter, perfect for the rosemary that I’ve been propagating all spring:
1. Obtain a broken coffee mug. Apparently you just need to make your kids do kitchen chores to end up with a plentiful supply of these.
2. Decide on drainage. There are two options to use here. If you’ve got a cracked saucer that you’d also like to use, or you plan to half-bury your coffee mug in the ground (this is an excellent way to keep mint from spreading), use a Dremel or other high-speed rotary tool to drill a hole through the bottom of the coffee mug for drainage.
If you’d like to keep this broken coffee mug planter on a windowsill or porch rail, however, I far prefer adding a couple of inches of gravel or river rocks or shells to the bottom of the mug for drainage. You have to be a little more vigilant about how you water, with no external drainage to save a heavy hand, but it’s worth it to not have to worry about water dripping where you don’t want it.
3. Fill with potting soil. I’m pretty happy with a combination of bagged potting soil and compost, but you can absolutely make your own DIY potting mix.
4. Add rooted plant cuttings. To propagate rosemary, like I’ve done, clip off a green and supple two to three inches of new growth, then gently clip off the bottom half-inch to inch of leaves (scatter them in your closet!). For the next few steps, follow my easy tutorial for propagating the wandering Jew–I LOVE test tubes for plant propagating!
Because rosemary is a little more fickle than the wandering Jew, I like to dip each rosemary cutting into rooting hormone before I plant it in the dirt; if you’re finicky about the chemicals that your plants are exposed to, however, you can skip this step with little loss.
5. Set up somewhere sunny and enjoy! If you’ve got this planter outside, you’ll have to watch it carefully to make sure that it doesn’t dry out during the hot summer days, but a nice morning drink of water every day should keep it happy. These little broken coffee mug planters also like to hang out inside, though, kind of like your own personal DIY plant kit.
And on the bright side, as long as my kids keep doing the dishes, I’ll never run low on coffee mug planters!